There's a new beast sitting in the radiopharmacy lab at work called a BVA-100 that's supposed to revolutionize the way blood volume studies are performed. The old way is a labour intensive process that took about 3-4 hours to complete. This new machine can do it in about 60-90 minutes with 6 blood draws. I haven't had a chance to familiarize myself with the entire procedure, but it looks pretty simple and is a lot less work. Patient is injected with about 20-40 μCi of I-131 HSA and 6 blood samples are drawn at regular time intervals. Blood is spun down, plasma removed and put into 2x1mL test tubes which are placed in the machine. The computer takes care of getting all the samples counted and spitting out the results.
It's pretty neat and is supposed to be helpful for a few different things like finding appropriate treatments for hypertension. The company came to our nuc med radiologists to get us to try the unit out for a 3 month demo period, which considering our current volume of blood volume study requests was hard to justify. Once their sales guys figured out the people to go to were the cardiologists, those guys were all over it and immediately requested us to proceed with the demo. We just got through with the installation and training period and have done 2 or 3 patients so far with good results and positive response from the techs. If it gets a similar response from the cardiologists and spreads to other potential referring docs, the machine might stick around. The one big downside I've been told is that the consumables have to be purchased from the company and is a little on the pricey side. That's something I leave for te administrators to worry about though.
I'll have to see about finding some time to become a little more familiar with this thing.